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Wednesday, November 28, 2007
David Matas and David Kilgour, Citizen Special
Ottawa Citizen: Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The argument by Glen McGregor in Saturday's Citizen ("Inside China's 'crematorium'") is that the government of China must not be found guilty by world opinion to be pillaging organs from Falun Gong practitioners on the basis of circumstantial evidence, no matter how overwhelming. He wants to see a smoking scalpel, a confessing surgeon or a surviving organ "donor."
Unfortunately, none of this kind of evidence is available. The medical professionals involved are complicit in murder and are not going to talk about it. There are no surviving organ donors from the Falun Gong community across China.
The world is not a criminal courtroom, but our report, "Bloody Harvest," (which we prepared on a volunteer basis) concludes, based on evidence which is independently verifiable and available on our website (www.organharvestinvestigation.net), that the party-state in China and its agencies have over six years put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience and sold their vital organs for high prices, sometimes to "organ tourists" from abroad.
Consider some of the avenues of proof and disproof available:
China's government is a systematic and extensively documented human rights violator; the government has reduced financing to the health system substantially since 1980; organ transplants are a major source of new funds.
The government has given the military the green light to raise money privately. The military is heavily involved in organ transplants.
Corruption across China is a major problem, with the latest Transparency International ranking (2007) placing China behind 71 other countries in its corruption perception index. There is huge money to be made from transplants and the lack of effective controls over corruption.
There is no self-governing disciplinary body for Chinese transplant ethics. Between 1999 and 2005, for example, China's minister of health (Zhang Wenkang) was president of the Chinese Medical Association (the sponsor of Mr. McGregor's trip to China). There has been no independence for the CMA from the party-state since Mao Zedong took power in 1949.
The government has long taken the organs of criminals sentenced to death without their consent. The Falun Gong constitutes an additional prison population which the authorities vilify and dehumanize even more than executed prisoners sentenced to death for criminal offences.
There is no organized system of organ donations in China. There is a strong cultural aversion to organ donation, which explains why there is such a shortage of organs for transplantation among the largest national population on earth.
Hospital websites post self-incriminating information, boasting a matter of days and weeks for waiting times for all organs for large payments, ranging from $30,000 U.S. for corneas to $180,000 for liver-kidney combinations. In other countries, waits are months and years.
Organ recipients we interviewed told us about the secrecy with which transplant surgery is undertaken and the heavy involvement of the military.
The practice of selling organs in China was legal until July 1, 2006. The new law banning the selling of organs appears to be unenforced.
The Communist Party of China sees Falun Gong as an ideological threat to its existence. Objectively, Falun Gong is a set of exercises with a spiritual component. Persecution of the Falun Gong since mid-1999 is a party-state decided and decreed policy.
Falun Gong practitioners are victims of systematic torture and ill treatment in forced labour camps. Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested in huge numbers. They are often detained without trial or charge until they renounce their beliefs. There are thousands of named, identified Falun Gong practitioners who died as a result of torture.
Many practitioners, in attempts to protect their families and communities, have not identified themselves once arrested. These unidentified individuals are a particularly vulnerable population.
Falun Gong practitioners in custody are regularly blood tested and physically examined. Because they are also systematically tortured, this cannot be motivated by concerns over their health.
Traditional sources of transplants -- executed prisoners, donors and the brain dead -- come nowhere near to explaining the total number of transplants across China. The only other identified source which can explain the skyrocketing transplant numbers is Falun Gong practitioners.
In a few cases, between death and cremation, family members of Falun Gong practitioners were able to see the mutilated corpses of their loved ones. Organs had been removed.
We had callers phoning hospitals across China posing as family members of persons who needed organ transplants. In a variety of locations, those who were called asserted that Falun Gong practitioners (reputedly healthy because of their exercise regime) were the source of the organs. We have recordings and telephone bills for these calls.
We interviewed the ex-wife of a surgeon, who said her husband personally removed the corneas from approximately 2,000 anaesthetized Falun Gong prisoners in Sujiatun hospital in Shenyang City during the two-year period before October, 2003. Her testimony was credible to us.
There have been two investigations independent from our own which have addressed the same question we have addressed, that is, whether there is organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China. One is by Dr. Kirk Allison of the University of Minnesota, another by a European Parliament vice-president, Edward McMillan-Scott. Both came to the same conclusion that we did.
It is easy to take each element in isolation, and say that this element or that does not prove the claim. It is their combination which led us to the chilling conclusion to which we came.
Our report has 25 recommendations for precautions which should be introduced to prevent the pillaging of organs from Falun Gong practitioners. Organ seizures from Falun Gong practitioners across China are happening. And they must stop.
David Kilgour represented southeast Edmonton in Parliament for 27 years and was Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific), 2002-2003. David Matas is a Winnipeg-based international human rights lawyer.
Friday, November 23, 2007
This is my letter to the editor: There is something I'd like to add to David Matas' excellent piece. It's actually a quote from Human Rights lawyer Clive Ansley (also in the film) in response to the allegations from the communist official that appeared in the documentary on Falun Gong almost every couple of minutes--and we know who added that part in there!
"Beijing's characterization of Falun Gong as 'illegal' is a clumsy attempt to justify a program of government sanctioned violence and persecution, ” Ansley said, adding that there is no basis in the Chinese Constitution or any other Chinese law for Beijing’s claim that Falun Gong is illegal in China. The only “legal” support for this claim is an arbitrary fiat from the central leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, declaring Falun Gong to be “an evil cult”.
So much for religious freedom of belief enshrined in the Chinese Constitution. This is the same China that calls the Dalai Lama evil and has branded Christians as evil cult members as well. Thanks to Peter Rowe and his well-intentioned documentary, now we all know what China has in mind for the Falun Gong group. The only thing left to do now is for the international community to step forward to try and help stop this genocide before it's too late.
David Matas, National PostNational Post: Published: Friday, November 23, 2007
Turkey denies the Armenian genocide. Sudan pretends the ongoing genocide in Darfur is not happening. The Soviet Union maintained that there was no forced famine in Ukraine. Neo-Nazis claim the Holocaust never happened. The pattern is predictable. Genocide Watch has identified eight stages of genocide. The last is denial.
The massive crimes that China has inflicted on the Falun Gong spiritual group follow this pattern. David Kilgour and I have written a report titled Bloody Harvest in which we showed that China has been killing the Falun Gong by the tens of thousands since 2000 for their organs. The organs are sold for huge sums, mostly to foreign tourists, for transplants. Beijing denies it all.
Bloody Harvest has been supported by two independent researchers -- Kirk Allison at the University of Minnesota and U.K. transplant surgeon Tom Treasure. All the evidence on which we relied is independently verifiable and available on our Web site, organharvestinvestigation.net.
Since the first version of our report came out in July, 2006, David Kilgour and I have been to over 40 countries publicizing its results. No one anywhere has refuted our report.
The Chinese government and its fellow travellers have responded with disinformation, denials and clumsy attempts at censorship. Beijing systematically tries to get our events cancelled. If that fails, it seeks to introduce its own propaganda into every forum to which we are invited.
When the CBC announced that it was broadcasting a TV documentary about China's persecution of the Falun Gong that featured our report, it was predictable that the Chinese censorship machine would get into gear. What was not predictable was that the CBC would pay attention to it.
Beijing leaned on the CBC and the network pulled the originally scheduled Nov. 6 broadcast. It was replaced with an old documentary on Pakistan because, so the CBC spokesman said, recent turmoil in Pakistan made the rebroadcast timely.
But timeliness was not the concern. The CBC went back to the documentary's producer, Peter Rowe, and asked for changes. The changes he made weren't enough. So the CBC made more changes on its own.
The CBC version of the documentary was broadcast on Nov. 20. Since the original version is now available on YouTube, it is possible to compare the two.
The CBC's deletions were telling. One expunged segment was the playing of tapes of telephone admissions from hospitals in China acknowledging that they were selling Falun Gong organs. (Chinese government denials remained in the CBC version.)
The additions were typical Chinese propaganda. The CBC on its own, for instance, added this screen to the documentary: "Amnesty International does not have conclusive evidence to back up the allegation the Falun Gong are killed for their organs." (It should be obvious that Amnesty's silence is not evidence of anything. The organization does not claim to be an encyclopedia of all human rights violations.)
The CBC claimed that the changes it made strengthened the documentary. But that is not what happened. Instead, the CBC has weakened itself.
-David Matas is a Winnipeg lawyer.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
MWC: Is the CBC affiliated with the Chinese Government? This would explain why the CBC opted to protect Beijing by trying to dissimulate the truth on forced organ harvesting in a documentary on Falun Gong called "Beyond the Red Wall" aired on Nov. 20 in Canada.
Let me get this straight. Last week after a phone call from the PRC bosses, the CBC undertook several rounds of re-editing and carefully doctoring what first started out to be an ‘independent’ film by long-time respected producer Peter Rowe.
The funny thing is that the film had been aired in French last March and it was a done deal. Then the CBC’s reputation went under fire for first pulling the doc hours before it was supposed to be aired on Nov. 6 and went reported in over 200 media— from NY Times, to the Jerusalem Post, the Taipei Times, CFP and others.
By that time, the CBC realized that they couldn’t get away with not showing the documentary due to pressure coming from everywhere not to mention from the Beijing government. What to do? Make more cuts with or without the producer!
Finally the film was aired on Nov. 20. To make a long story short, forced organ harvesting of living Falun Gong practitioners was made to look like it was almost a minor offense just because Amnesty International has not yet come up with any proof—which in itself doesn’t prove anything—regardless of the 33 pieces of evidence contained in the ‘Bloody Harvest' report. Make no mistake--this little exercise could not have been done in good faith on the part of CBC but rather to please Beijing and exempt them from being accused of genocide.
Oh! There’s one more thing. I don't suppose that the reason why a segment about a human rights lawyer expressing his opinion about China being the Olympics host was cut off had anything to do with the fact that CBC is covering the 2008 Olympics next year. Hmm!
This is the quote that got slashed: "Hitler was the worst abuser of human rights on the planet at that time, so the International Olympics Committee rewarded his mass murders and atrocities by giving the Olympics to Germany in 1936. Today, China is the biggest abuser of human rights on the planet and once again the International Olympic Committee has said let's give them the Olympics in 2008."
On second thought, CBC’s choice of siding with Beijing must be a very uncomfortable spot for them to be in--as they have to answer to an audience of freedom loving people. What is most distressing though is that this 'poor choice' left the viewers with only the partial truth on a topic of high interest to them, all because of the CBC’s lack of integrity. Thus, not only the viewers pay the price for this deceitful censorship, but I also hope that the CBC will learn sooner than later that there is a price to pay overall for working with such tyrannical regimes.
David Matas, co-author of the 'Bloody Harvest' report, commented on the film and was quoted as saying: “…allowing the Chinese government to deny it violates human rights violations is not balanced reporting. The notion that CBC would pay any attention to Chinese concerns is evidence they've lost all perspective. The CBC becoming a vehicle of Chinese government propaganda -- even under the notion that it's balanced coverage -- is not responsible journalism."
I commend the producer, Peter Rowe, for his stamina and his thorough efforts to protect his work. And even though we might never get to see the real McCoy in Canada, hopefully his independent film will be shown 'intact' throughout the rest of the world as it should. With all this publicity, who will want to miss the film now?
Press Release 22-11-07 For Immediate Release
CIPFG Condemns Beijing’s Olympic Ban
Falun Gong adherents barred from 2008 Summer Olympics
Scoop (Vancouver Island, Canada) On November 8, 2007, Li Zhanjun, News Director of the Beijing Olympics media centre, responded to Western criticism of religious restrictions made by Beijing, saying that the Chinese communist regime would allow athletes and tourists to bring religious objects for self-use during the Olympics.
However, this policy would not apply to Falun Gong practitioners: "Falun Gong texts, Falun Gong activities in China are forbidden," and, "Foreigners who come to China must respect and abide by the laws of China." (AP)
The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) is distressed at this policy which is in direct violation of article 5 of the Olympic Charter, which states that: "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."
As well, Article 36 of China’s own constitution declares that citizens "enjoy freedom of religious belief," and that, "No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion."
This lack of transparency in terms of regulations is posing serious obstacles to Falun Gong practitioners and other religious groups.
Not only does this latest order further demonstrate the Chinese regime’s unwillingness to fulfill its promise made in 2001 to the IOC of improving human rights in China, but also it is clear proof that any hope of bringing improvement to Chinese human rights through the Olympics is a hope not shared by the Beijing Government.
For instance, in April 2007, Beijing’s Ministry of Public Service issued a black list barring ‘antagonistic elements’ from attending the Games including adherents of Falun Gong, religious infiltrators and others.
Clive Ansley, Canada President of CIPFG said: “Li Zhanjun's response demonstrates that the Chinese government's policy of persecuting Falun Gong and its practitioners continues unabated. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has overtly extended the regime's persecution of Falun Gong to the Olympics - a most noble institution that is respected worldwide. Such abuse and discrimination against the followers of a peaceful spiritual teaching not only trash the Olympic Spirit, but also constitute a spurning of fundamental morality and ethics in the international society. Having called upon the world not to politicize the Olympics, this is clear evidence that the CCP itself is doing so.”
The CIPFG calls on:
• the IOC to face up to and stop Beijing's severe breach of the Olympic Charter, re-consider the eligibility of the Communist regime to stage the Olympic Games, given the steadily worsening human rights situation in China today, and discuss the possibility of holding the Olympics in another nation;
• the international community and athletes from around the world to condemn Beijing’s trashing of the Olympic spirit and its scorn for the Olympic Charter;
• the Chinese regime to stop using the Olympics as a cover for launching a crackdown on peaceful people of faith both in China and abroad and to halt the persecution of Falun Gong and all Chinese citizens.
“The whole world is about to learn what religious repression ‘made in China’ means. Beijing's characterization of Falun Gong as 'illegal' is a clumsy attempt to justify a program of government sanctioned violence and persecution, ” Ansley said, adding that there is no basis in the Chinese Constitution or any other Chinese law for Beijing’s claim that Falun Gong is illegal in China.”
For more information, please visit: http://humanrightstorch.org
New Zealand CIPFG members include: Carole Curtis, Barrister and Solicitor; Richard McLeod, Barrister and Solicitor; Dr Cathy Casey Auckland City Councillor; Barry Wilson, Barrister and former President of the Auckland Council for Civil Liberties; Heval Hylan, International human rights lawyer; Pan Qing, Democracy advocate.
"The Olympics and Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Coexist in China" CIPFG - the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
This is a message from Clive Ansley of CIPFG and I couldn't agree more. "We are sorry to have deluged you with so many messages over the past couple of weeks and hope it has not inconvenienced you. We nevertheless feel obliged to keep on posting the latest news updates in the continuing saga of CBC’s capitulation to the
Changes to the documentary included adding “dramatization” to footage provided by the spiritual movement.
Toronto Star: Peter Rowe made 5 minutes' worth of changes, but CBC wanted more before tonight's broadcast
Nov 20, 2007 04:30 AM
Vinay Menon, television columnist
Peter Rowe spent three long years making a documentary about China's repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. But in some ways, the last two weeks have been more exhausting.
On Nov. 6, five hours before Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong was scheduled to air on CBC Newsworld, the Canadian filmmaker was informed it had been yanked.
There were whispers Chinese diplomats had voiced complaints. And the notion Beijing was interfering with Canada's public broadcaster – a charge the CBC categorically denies – generated headlines across the planet.
Beyond the Red Wall is scheduled to air tonight at 10. Mind you, assuming it does, not even Rowe will have seen the final cut.
"I was called on Saturday and told that they were making more changes and did I want to be involved, and I said, `No, I didn't,'" he told me yesterday. "I'm on to my other projects and enough is enough."
The network's tinkering – the film was still in CBC's editing suite yesterday afternoon – comes after a six-hour marathon between Rowe and executives last Monday, during which a number of changes were requested.
Rowe complied, delivering a recut version on Friday. The changes affected about five minutes of the 41-minute film and included:
Adding technical evidence to charges from Falun Gong over a 2001 incident in Tiananmen Square in which five people allegedly died from self-immolation. Chinese authorities say the five were Falun Gong members; the group says the incident was a government-staged hoax.
Removing an interview clip in which a lawyer talks about human rights abuses and the Olympic Games, drawing an analogy between 1936 Berlin and 2008 Beijing.
Adding a "dramatization" label to footage provided by Falun Gong that allegedly shows how some of its members have been tortured in prison.
Editing the most inflammatory section of the film in which China is accused of harvesting organs from Falun Gong members for transplant.
Removing a reference to a website, allegedly based in Vancouver, in which kidney transplants were guaranteed provided the patient was willing to travel to China. (The website has since disappeared. And this year, China passed a law that makes illegal the sale of organs to foreigners.)
Changing the numerical points of evidence from 18 to 33 in a report about the alleged organ harvesting that was authored by Canadian lawyer David Matas and David Kilgour, former secretary of state for Asia-Pacific. And including a title card that says Amnesty International has not corroborated the report.
The irony is that Beyond the Red Wall is airing as part of The Lens, a series that's promoted as "innovative, compelling documentaries made exclusively by independent Canadian filmmakers." (Emphasis mine.)
This is not a news segment on The National. It's a provocative film with a point of view.
"This is the same unit that only in late September broadcast Fahrenheit 9/11, a far more contentious film than this one is," says Rowe. "They didn't ask Michael Moore to make any changes."
So how does he explain the skittishness?
"I think there is a great deal of nervousness about dealing with issues involving China at the CBC."
The suggestion is denied by CBC spokesperson Jeff Keay. He tells me changes were made after a "detailed review of the material" and not at the "behest of any outside parties."
"We've worked to ensure the finished product is both journalistically rigorous and as credible as possible," says Keay. "Several changes were required to ensure that source material and interviews were appropriately identified and attributed.
"There were two points where we disagreed as to whether specific assertions could be independently verified. Both cases related to organ harvesting and this resulted in deletions."
Curiously, though, Rowe delivered the finished film in March. He heard no objections until the day it was supposed to air.
In fact, the film aired Oct. 31 on the broadcaster's French-language service, Radio Canada.
It has also aired in New Zealand, Spain and Portugal, in each case without incident.
"I hope that I can make more films with the CBC, but I also hope that they would be less fractious and problem-filled edits than this one has been," says Rowe.
The film – at least the first and second cuts I screened – includes interviews with academics, politicians, lawyers, Chinese officials and Falun Gong members. Unless the CBC has gutted it over the past 72 hours, Rowe's film remains a searing indictment of China's treatment of the Falun Gong.
The downside to this month's publicity, Rowe says, is that it has overshadowed the film itself. But the upside, I suggest, is that more people may now watch.
Monday, November 19, 2007
"... watch Beyond the Red Wall tomorrow night and judge for yourself."
Postponed after Chinese embassy complaints, Beyond the Red Wall returns to CBC schedule
Nov 19,2007, by PETER WORTHINGTON, TORONTO SUN
Admittedly to my surprise, and the surprise of some others, at 10 p.m. tomorrow, CBC-TV will be showing Beyond the Red Wall -- the documentary it cancelled two weeks ago after the Chinese embassy complained about it being shown.
An array of CBC officials have since denied that China's protests had anything to do with the decision to cancel the show a few hours before it was to run. A previously aired documentary about Pakistan was substituted, with an explanation that it was more newsworthy than the scheduled documentary about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
(Beyond the Red Wall was shown at 4 a.m. last March 28, so its cost would appear on last year's budget.) CBC spokespeople gave several versions until they co-ordinated scripts to explain that the 11th-hour cancellation was really a postponement for journalistic reasons, and that producer/director/writer Peter Rowe agreed to make minor changes.
I've seen the original documentary and it struck me as fair and well balanced, with Chinese officials given ample opportunity to deny China was "harvesting" organs from imprisoned Falun Gung members for sale to rich and needy foreigners, and to decry Falun Gong as "a cult of evil."
By most objective criteria, Falun Gong is a benign, non-political movement that believes in meditation, compassion, generosity and truthfulness as fundamentals of life -- which, at first, the Communist Beijing regime not only tolerated but endorsed. When Falun Gong's popularity grew faster than the Communist party's, Beijing outlawed it in 1999, and unleashed persecution of it around the world.
Changes in the documentary involve clarification of the supposed self-immolation of Falun Gong members on Tiananmen Square. Falun Gong says it was a Beijing-inspired hoax -- with actors swathed in protective clothing, police ready with fire extinguishers and cameras rolling. All a ploy to discredit Falun Gong, which prohibits suicide.
"The documentary is now strengthened by scenes clarifying how the self-immolation involved Chinese authorities," says Rowe.
He also included a statement from the Chinese that selling organs for transplants to foreigners is illegal (until after the Beijing Olympics, one presumes).
Rowe says publicity resulting from the CBC pulling the video has been enormous.
Newspapers around the world picked up the story "and I suspect the Chinese now wish they'd never raised the issue."
Tomorrow's viewing audience will be substantially greater than if it had run when originally scheduled.
My surprise is that the CBC agreed to air the documentary in the first place, since Beijing is pathological when it comes to Falun Gong -- spying on, and subverting them from their embassies around the world.
Former federal cabinet minister David Kilgour and Winnipeg human rights lawyer David Mata have extensively investigated organ harvesting allegations, and have amassed at least 33 pieces of evidence that Falun Gong prisoners have had lungs, hearts, livers, kidneys and corneas taken to be sold for transplants.
The documentary points out that every year China sentences more people to death than the rest of the world combined -- over 1,000 a year, an admitted source of human organs for sale.
Kilgour notes that 31,500 transplants in China far exceed death row executions. That statistic alone should alert the world.
Where the wait for a lung transplant can take months in Canada, in China it's 15 days. Death row inmates (and Falun Gong prisoners) are warehoused until their organs are needed.
Kilgour cites one doctor who had a mental breakdown after removing 2,000 corneas from Falun Gong prisoners over a two-year period.
The Wall Street Journal's Ian Johnson won a Pulitzer Prize for his reports on the persecution of Falun Gong.
In Rowe's documentary, even former justice minister Irwin Cotler protests abuses to Falun Gong.
Kilgour is one who feels it was a grotesque mistake to award Beijing the 2008 Olympics, which will be used for propaganda purposes, rather as Hitler used the 1936 Berlin Olympics to enhance Nazi prestige.
Anyway, watch Beyond the Red Wall tomorrow night and judge for yourself.
Friday, November 16, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2007 (Toronto) The controversial documentary BEYOND THE RED WALL: THE PERSECUTION OF FALUN GONG was pulled from CBC's broadcast line-up last week hours before
its scheduled airing. The one-hour film by veteran award-winning filmmaker Peter Rowe will now air on CBC Newsworld's The Lens on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 at 10:00pm ET/PT. It exposes the ongoing governmental policy of persecuting citizens, including a Canadian, who suffer from China's attempt to eliminate the peaceful practice of Falun Gong.
After reviewing the film, which was completed and approved for broadcast in March of this year, CBC asked the filmmaker to make changes. "We updated and lengthened our report on the harvesting of the organs of Falun Gong prisoners, as well as provided further evidence of the claim that the Chinese government-alleged self-immolation of Falun Gong practitioners in Tiananmen Square in 2001 was a hoax," said filmmaker Rowe. "We also clarified the affiliations of some of our interview subjects and further identified on-screen the sources of some of our material."
Worldwide press reports in the past week have accused the CBC of "bowing to Beijing." Rowe, pleased Canadian will now have the opportunity of watching the film and learning the shocking story of the persecution, said, "I'm happy to say the work we did has not weakened or diminished the film, nor muted the passionate voices heard in it. The persecution of a peaceful worldwide group, whose motto is 'Truthfulness, Benevolence and Forbearance,' constitutes one of the most egregious human rights abuses of our time."
Chinese officials deny capturing, interrogating, beating, imprisoning, killing, and selling the organs of thousands of
practitioners of Falun Gong, an ancient method of exercise and meditation for health and well-being. The evidence, however, in BEYOND THE RED WALL shows the opposite.
British Columbia human rights lawyer Clive Ansley believes the world should not be sending athletes to the Beijing Olympics in the face of such extreme violations of human rights. BEYOND THE RED WALL follows up on the shocking allegations, supported by a report co-authored by lawyer David Matas and David Kilgour, former Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, that Chinese authorities have removed the corneas, kidneys and other body parts from living prisoners for sale to Chinese and foreign buyers.
Falun Gong, which is apolitical, informal, free of charge, run by volunteers, and practised by millions in some 60 countries, was outlawed in China in 1999. In 2000, Canadian artist Kunlun Zhang, a visiting McGill University professor and Falun Gong practitioner, was arrested on a visit to China. Irwin Cotler, Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada from 2003 to 2006, was instrumental in spearheading the movement that freed Professor Kunlun from a Chinese labour camp in 2001.
Other political figures who speak out in BEYOND THE RED WALL include U.S. Congress members Chris Smith and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Zhang Weidong, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada; and Canadian reporter Ian Johnson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Falun Gong in the Wall Street Journal. Despite protests by such groups as Amnesty International and individual activists such as Richard Gere, the horrors continue. Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners remain imprisoned in China.
BEYOND THE RED WALL: THE PERSECUTION OF FALUN GONG is written, produced and directed by Peter Rowe, and co-produced with CBC Newsworld, with the participation of Telefilm Canada, Canadian Television Fund, the OMDC Ontario Film and Television Tax Credits, and the Canadian Film or Video Tax Credits. Rowe previously produced Popcorn with Maple Syrup for CBC and is currently the producer of the
adventure series Angry Planet, now airing on OLN. The Lens, CBC Newsworld's documentary showcase, airs Tuesdays at 10:00pm ET/PT (repeated Saturdays at 11pmET/PT).
For further information, please contact:
Janice Kaye, firstname.lastname@example.org
Details from CBC website:
CBC.ca: "Beyond The Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong airs on The Lens, Nov. 20, at 10 p.m. ET/PT and on CBC Newsworld, Nov. 24, at 11 p.m. ET/PT."
WASHINGTON — Most days, Xiang Dong leads a life typical of this city’s suburban office worker. But at nights, he takes on another persona: China dissident.
The bespectacled Mr. Xiang, a 38-year-old father of two, hosts a pair of weekly talk shows for a U.S.-based satellite-TV broadcaster called New Tang Dynasty Television. Setting up at a bare-bones studio at a high school one night, he fiddled with his laptop-cum-teleprompter. “I forgot my power cord,” sighed Mr. Xiang, who works as a database manager. “I’ll just have to rely on batteries.”
Making do is the modus operandi for the largely volunteer staff of New Tang Dynasty TV. Yet they are helping build one of the most significant overseas dissident movements to challenge China in decades. Most staffers belong to Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual-and-meditation movement banned by Beijing as an “evil cult.” What started as an effort by U.S.-based Falun Gong practitioners — many immigrants from China — to speak out against a government crackdown back home has evolved into a broadcaster with big aspirations.
New Tang Dynasty broadcasts to the U.S., Europe and Asia, including China. It is one of a growing number of media organizations run mostly by Falun Gong practitioners, including a radio station and a newspaper with editions in 10 languages. There is also a film-production company, a performing-arts school, dozens of Web sites and a Chinese cultural show, which has played around the world, including New York’s Radio City Music Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington.
The group’s ambitions have grown, says New Tang Dynasty President Zhong Lee. “At the beginning, a big part was to speak as the voice of Falun Gong,” he says, at the station’s cramped headquarters in midtown Manhattan. “But media can also play a big role pushing democracy in China.”
Falun Gong follows in a long tradition of sects in China that have challenged the state. Falun Gong started in 1992 as a spiritual movement intended partly to improve practitioners’ health. While a government crackdown has largely contained Falun Gong in China, the group has flourished overseas, driven by well-educated practitioners who volunteer time, money and technological expertise to push their cause, to what some experts describe as a near-fanatical degree.
Question of Funding
A question surrounding these media organizations is how they are funded. Some Chinese officials privately question whether they get backing from Beijing’s political nemesis, Taiwan, or from groups determined to embarrass Beijing in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, although publicly they say that they don’t know where the funding originates.
Charles Lee, press director of the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago, one of the Taiwan government’s representative offices in the U.S., said, “I’ve never heard this rumor . I think it’s problematic.”
New Tang Dynasty says the bulk of its revenues come from donations by individuals. Its staff is comprised mainly of Falun Gong adherents, who often pay out of pocket for equipment and other expenses. Executives say they don’t receive Taiwanese government funding. The Epoch Times, the Falun Gong-affiliated newspaper, says ad sales cover “the majority of costs” for its Chinese-language editions, and that those editions help finance operations for the English-language ones.
New Tang Dynasty’s revenues were $4.7 million in 2005, according to its Internal Revenue Service filings as a nonprofit. Mr. Lee says last year’s revenues were about $5 million, and that they will increase to $6 million or $7 million this year.
For Chinese officials and other Falun Gong opponents, the growing influence of NTD is evidence of their longstanding assertion that the group was never just a spiritual movement. NTD and its sister organizations report frequently on Falun Gong-related news and often focus on negative news out of China. They have also sometimes played up stories discredited by Western media and human-rights groups, such as China’s alleged systemic harvesting of the organs of detained Falun Gong practitioners for use in transplants.
At the same time, NTD’s programs, broadcast in Chinese and English, address issues that remain largely off-limits to China’s state-controlled media, from political corruption to the spread of the infectious disease SARS in the country in 2003.
During elections in the U.S. and Taiwan, NTD beamed live feeds to show democracy in action, and is gearing up to do the same for the 2008 U.S. presidential race. The broadcaster also airs movies, cooking shows, a sports program and other entertainment.
Viewers can tune in to New Tang Dynasty’s programs via satellite dish or online. In China, the government bans individual dish ownership and blocks Falun Gong-related and other politically sensitive Web sites. But illegal dish ownership is widespread, and some Internet users have found ways to skirt official fire walls, including by using tools developed by Falun Gong adherents.
New Tang Dynasty TV and affiliated organizations “allow an opposition voice to exist,” says He Qinglian, a visiting scholar at Princeton University. “That’s their biggest value.”
The group faces numerous hurdles, from a dearth of full-time staff to questions about its credibility, as well as what its executives and independent academics describe as interference from Beijing, such as efforts to discourage sponsors.
Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., declined to discuss any specific actions allegedly taken by the embassy involving New Tang Dynasty TV or other Falun Gong-affiliated groups.
“Falun Gong is an evil cult and political organization bent on conducting activities against China and sabotaging China-U.S. relations,” he said. “It has a lot of groups under it, and it’s very clear they all oppose the Chinese government.”
No reliable data are available for the number of Falun Gong adherents. In 2000, Beijing put the number of China-based followers at two million, though other estimates have been much higher.
A self-described dissident in the Chinese province of Guizhou, who asked to be identified only by his last name, Chen, says he began tuning into NTD’s Web casts on his computer after learning about them from human-rights activists. State-run Chinese television “can’t compare to NTD’s openness,” says Mr. Chen. But the station’s viewers aren’t limited to dissidents, he says: “Average citizens” watch its shows, too.
NTD also serves as a platform for China’s pro-democracy dissidents, who have been torn by internal squabbling and lack of organization. Contributors have included veteran Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng and human-rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was detained by Chinese police in September after writing a letter critical of China to U.S. lawmakers.
Mr. Xiang, who heads NTD’s Washington office, got his first taste of activism by fighting for democracy in China — as part of the Tiananmen Square 1989 protests. A student at Renmin University of China, he says he was in the square on the night the Chinese military moved in.
“I never believed the Communist Party would do this,” he says. “I decided that night to leave China….I had no interest in China’s future.”
In 1990, Mr. Xiang went to study accounting at Old Dominion University in Virginia. After graduating, he got a job as a financial analyst in the Washington, D.C., area and married his girlfriend from China, who moved to join him.
A search for spiritual mooring in his new country led Mr. Xiang — who, like many Chinese, grew up atheist — to Falun Gong. After reading a book on the movement given to him by a visitor from China, he began to practice its breathing exercises and moral precepts.
In the early years after Li Hongzhi founded Falun Gong in northeastern China, Beijing generally ignored it. But in July 1999, Chinese authorities launched a crackdown, after Falun Gong practitioners held a large protest in Beijing over Chinese media criticism of the movement.
Recalling Tiananmen Square
To Mr. Xiang, “it was just like” the Tiananmen Square protest. “Ten years had passed, and they hadn’t changed.”
He was determined to fight back. In a discussion during their daily 5 a.m. exercise session at a city park, Mr. Xiang and other Falun Gong followers decided they needed to explain Falun Gong to the general public.
They joined Falun Gong adherents from around the U.S. who were gathering in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington. Some met with embassy officials. Others passed out information packets. In November 1999, Congress passed a nonbinding resolution calling on China to stop persecuting Falun Gong adherents.
But Mr. Xiang and others also sought a more direct way to counter what they felt was a negative message being fed by Beijing to the media about Falun Gong. So they started their own media. In Birmingham, Ala., a group of followers set up a news Web site. California adherents learned to produce TV programs. In Washington, some started a radio station, and others set up a newspaper.
Mr. Xiang decided to focus on producing TV shows. In July 2000, he enrolled in evening classes offered by Fairfax Public Access, a nonprofit organization providing media-production facilities.
One of his first programs to air on Fairfax Public Access’s Channel 10 was a minidocumentary about Falun Gong adherents. “Our teacher watched it and said it could be more professional,” Mr. Xiang says. Undeterred, he produced more programs featuring Falun Gong followers.
As the various projects gathered steam, some banded together. Local newspapers eventually merged to become the Epoch Times, and the radio stations united into Sound of Hope radio network. In October 2001, a dozen activists gathered in New York to discuss setting up a 24-hour satellite TV station serving North America.
Carrie Hung, a Chinese-American who grew up in New York’s Chinatown and runs a women’s apparel business, focused on raising funds. Like others involved in the TV endeavor, she was a Falun Gong practitioner and volunteered her time. Supporters in Taiwan and democracy activists offered free programming. The venture acquired rights to some films, including old Western movies subtitled in Chinese.
Ms. Hung says donations, including some big ones from U.S.-based Chinese individuals, paid for the main expenditures: satellite and office rental.
Mr. Xiang, who makes a six-figure salary at his database-management job, estimates he has spent at least $10,000 of his own money to help build the Washington station. He says he spends five or six hours each night on his two talk shows — one on economics and one on China — for which he serves as reporter, writer and producer.
Still, financing remains a headache. Mr. Lee estimates individual donations account for 70% to 80% of revenues. NTD has recently begun a campaign to solicit donations from viewers on its Web site. And while ad sales have grown, he says, “our corporate sponsors don’t match our reach, because we’re on the Chinese government’s blacklist.”
In 2004, New Tang Dynasty started a Chinese New Year cultural performance to help supplement funding. Many of the show’s acts, which feature both professional Chinese artists and students of a Falun Gong-affiliated performing-arts school, are imbued with Falun Gong sentiment and symbolism. One depicts a follower being beaten by Chinese police before she ascends to heaven. The show was performed in about 30 cities around the world this year, compared to four the first year, backers say. The show plans to tour more than 40 cities for the coming season.
On opening night at Washington’s Lisner Auditorium in January, Mr. Xiang hosted a preshow gathering. “We have endured heavy interference from the Chinese Communist regime since the beginning,” he said to Falun Gong adherents, journalists and Washington figures nibbling on sushi and egg rolls. “But we love China…and we will be more successful in the future.”
New Tang Dynasty officials say the Swatch Group Ltd. originally signed up to sponsor the show, but pulled out after Chinese officials told the company the program was affiliated with Falun Gong.
Swatch said in an email statement that it canceled its sponsorship because the show was “not in line with the overall marketing concept of Swatch headquarters for the Chinese New Year.” Swatch said New Tang Dynasty approached it to sponsor the show “without revealing that a political group stood behind the commercial company.”
Ms. Hung of New Tang Dynasty says, “We always tell our potential sponsors what NTD is about and what our shows are like.”
Another challenge for NTD and sister organizations has been how to strengthen credibility with audiences and sources. A few of the volunteer staff have journalistic backgrounds, but most don’t.
White House Briefing
Last year, an Epoch Times reporter, part of a group of journalists covering a meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Bush, made headlines around the world when she yelled insults at Mr. Hu during a briefing on the White House lawn. Wang Wenyi, a pathologist by profession who was volunteering at the newspaper, says she undertook the action on her own. The paper later apologized to the White House, and Ms. Wang no longer reports for the paper.
NTD, the Epoch Times and Sound of Hope Radio were about the only media covering an annual Falun Gong rally in Washington in July. With several thousand adherents convening in front of the Capitol, NTD’s broadcast focused on praise for the movement by U.S. congressmen and human-rights activists. Mr. Xiang hosted a live Web cast of the event.
To strengthen professionalism, NTD holds training sessions with experienced journalists, such as Wu Baozhang, former China director for Radio France International. Editors meet weekly to discuss the previous week’s programming and how to improve it.
“There are all kinds of demand for different programming, but our funding isn’t sufficient,” says Mr. Lee. Eventually, NTD hopes to move to income sources such as movies-on-demand and revenue sharing with cable systems.
For Mr. Xiang, who hosts two weekly talk shows, there is a downside to all the growth. “Before, I practiced the Fa [meditation and exercises] two hours a day,” he says. “Now I do it only for one hour. Everyone’s busy.”
– By Kathy Chen
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Beijing Tells Press of Intent to Bar Millions of Falun Gong, Violate Olympic Charter
NEW YORK — Beijing Olympic organizers have openly expressed a policy banning Falun Gong adherents from attending the 2008 summer Olympics, the Falun Dafa Information Center reported Wednesday. Beijing’s decision stands in stark violation to Articles 35 and 36 of China’s own Constitution, which promise freedom of association and religious belief, as well as the International Olympic Committee’s bylaws, which prohibit any form of discrimination—including that religious or political.
The Falun Dafa Information Center condemns Beijing’s decision, and calls upon the international community to pressure China’s communist officials to reverse the unlawful policy.
“The Olympics must not be turned into a theatre of intolerance, a celebration of communist machinations,” said Information Center spokesperson Mr. Erping Zhang. “We’re talking about tens of millions being barred from the Games simply for who they are. This amounts to a violation of the Olympic Charter on a scale nobody could have imagined.”
News of Beijing’s discriminatory plans was made public in a November 8 report from the Associated Press. The report indicates that Beijing’s new, allegedly-more-tolerant religious policies “do not apply to Falun Gong,” and instead only reassert “China’s determination to marginalize, persecute and eradicate the spiritual movement.”
Li Zhanjun, director of the Beijing Olympics media center, told AP that, “Falun Gong texts, Falun Gong activities in China are forbidden,” and that, “Foreigners who come to China must respect and abide by the laws of China.”
Beijing’s explanation is not satisfactory, however, in that the branding of Falun Gong as “illegal” was in contravention to the constitution of the People’s Republic of China, as well as numerous international rights accords and covenants of which the PRC is a signatory. Article 35 of China’s own constitution, for instance, claims that citizens “enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.”
Article 36 of likewise declares that citizens “enjoy freedom of religious belief,” and that, “No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.”
The Olympics should hardly occasion an exception to such policies, even if PRC authorities have flaunted them for decades. To the contrary, the IOC had indicated that the Games would compel China’s rulers to improve the nation’s abysmal human rights record. The Olympic Charter states clearly: “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”
The IOC’s regulations thus protect against the marginalization of groups such as the Falun Gong, even if such discrimination is internally legislated; the branding of Falun Gong as “illegal” does not change the religious character, or rights, of the group, and only bespeaks of the willingness and disposition of China’s communist authorities to subordinate rule of law to political caprice.
“Beijing’s calling Falun Gong ‘illegal’ is a clumsy attempt to justify what is a program of institutionally-sanctioned violence and persecution. The fact remains: millions of peaceful, law-abiding citizens who aspire merely to better health and moral living are being brutalized and deprived of their rights by an authoritarian communist regime,” says the Information Center’s Zhang. “In all of the other 75, non-communist states around the world where Falun Gong is found it is freely, legally, and openly practiced. Only in communist China does it face relentless suppression.”
According to a 2005 report by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, 66% percent of reported victims of torture in China were Falun Gong adherents. In a 2006 report, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture expressed concern over increasing reports of systemic repression against the Falun Gong saying, “reports of arrest, detention, ill treatment, torture, sexual violence, deaths, and unfair trial of members of so-called ‘heretical organizations,’ in particular Falun Gong practitioners, may reflect a deliberate and institutionalized policy of the authorities to target specific groups such as the Falun Gong.”
The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of over 63,000 instances of torture, with over 3,000 deaths in custody. The actual death toll is believed to be as high as 10,000 or more.
Beijing’s latest statement follows a series of warnings sounded by the Information Center. The Center anticipated such policies, and has sought international support in preventing their enactment.
In 2005, for instance, the Center received credible reports that PRC authorities were, in preparation for the Olympic Games and in contrast to their promise to improve human rights, stepping up measures to “stamp out” Falun Gong prior to summer 2008.
In May 2007, the Center reported on a secret directive from the Ministry of Public Security, provided to the Center by sources in China, that lists 43 categories of unwanteds who are to be investigated and barred from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (news / document)
The Information Center is currently seeking statement from IOC officials on Beijing’s announcement, and seeks clarification of what measures will be used to ensure that policies of discrimination are not carried out, be it openly or covertly, by PRC authorities.
# # #
NEWS - Nov. 14, 2007
Falun Dafa Information Center, www.faluninfo.net
Founded in 1999, the Falun Dafa Information Center is a New York-based organization that documents the rights violations of adherents of Falun Gong (or “Falun Dafa”) taking place in the People’s Republic of China. In July of 1999 China’s autocratic Communist Party launched an unlawful campaign of arrests, violence, and propaganda with the intent of “eradicating” the apolitical practice; it is believed certain leaders feared the influence of the practice’s 100 million adherents. The campaign has since grown in violence and scope, with millions having been detained or sent to forced labor camps. The Center has verified details of over 3,000 deaths and over 63,000 cases of torture in custody (reports / sources). Falun Gong is a traditional-style Buddhist “qigong” practice, with roots in the Chinese heritage of cultivating the mind/body for health and spiritual growth.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Taipei Times: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) decision to cancel the broadcast of Beyond the Red Wall was likely the result of Beijing's desire to block two pieces of information("Canadian TV pulls Falun Gong program hours before airtime," Nov. 10, page 7). The first is the exposure of the Goebbels-like propaganda created by CBC's buddy, Xinhua news agency (the media mouthpiece for the Chinese regime) and second is the fact that organs from living Falun Gong practitioners (FGP) are the primary source of the lucrative Chinese organ trade.
In 2002 when Chinese citizens were beginning to sympathize with the unfairly persecuted Falun Gong, the regime had to come up with a propaganda masterpiece to firmly re-establish hate in the minds of the populace. They created a hate film showing FGP -- a pacifist group that does not believe in suicide -- setting themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square. To get people stirred into a self-righteous frenzy, a little girl was (supposedly) killed in the process.
Beyond the Red Wall contains video footage of the incident, which literally proves that the incident could have only been created by the regime itself. This hate flick was shown 24/7 in China until the hate was firmly ingrained. Meanwhile the Western press picked up the story and in seconds Falun Gong was equated with a suicide cult in the minds of people all over the world.
The question that everyone wants answered is why the Chinese regime is so set on exterminating the Falun Gong. There have been many conjectures from government concerns about the large number of people practicing to the straight-out jealousy of then dictator Jiang Zemin (
However, it was at this time (2002) that the persecution could have just petered out. So why did the regime want to again stir up this frenzy of hatred against them?
The answer? Organs. Selling the organs from young, healthy and living Falun Gong practitioners proved just too lucrative to be given up so easily. But why does the Western media have such a hard time reporting that this is so? At best it is because it is absolutely unbelievable; dubbed "a new form of evil on the planet" by former Canadian Cabinet minister David Kilgour in his third-party report on these allegations. And at worst?
The Chinese Communist Party and many Western business partners do not want anything to interfere with its hosting next year's Olympics. Maybe if this film was shown in full, people might wake up and actually think about the value of putting principle before profit. The only difference between next year's Genocide Olympics and the Nazi Olympics of 1936 is that we won't be able to say we didn't know.
I sincerely hope that CBC will do the right thing.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Lorne Gunter, National Post - Published: Monday, November 12, 2007
Just imagine how easy it's going to be for the CBC to adapt to its new ownership. It won't even have to change its initials. Now that it has become the Chinese Broadcasting Corporation -- taking programming direction from the People's Republic's embassy in Ottawa -- it can still keep the old "CBC" designation it had when it was the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
That must be especially great news for the CBC gift shop; no need to reorder all those mugs, caps, golf shirts and jackets.
And the graphic designers won't have to redo all those network ID spots that air between shows.
Even the re-education process for the broadcaster's executives shouldn't take all that long -- given the ideological headstart so many of them have.
Tuesday evening, just hours before it was to air, Mother Corp yanked a documentary entitled Beyond the Red Wall, an expose on the Chinese government's brutal repression of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement the Communists consider a threat to their iron grip on power.
It seems their Ottawa embassy objected to the film's claims (well documented by several sources and international rights groups) that its government arbitrarily imprisons, tortures and uses Falun Gong members for slave labour. Two Canadian human rights advocates, former MP David Kilgour and lawyer David Matas, even established last year that China executes Falun Gong members so it may harvest their hearts, livers, kidneys and corneas for transplants.
Based on a single call from their new cultural commissars, CBC pulled the documentary and promised to re-edit it before showing it later this month.
Instead of Beyond the Red Wall, CBC reran an older piece on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, which aired unedited despite the fact its unflattering portrayal of the general-cum-president no doubt rankles the Pakistani government. But when you aren't hosting next year's Olympics, and you can't threaten the CBC's contract to air the games ? well, you follow the dots.
What followed from corporate spokesmen was a flood of oily and preposterous rationalizations and equivocations.
"We want to make sure it's an absolutely rigorous piece of work because there's a lot of interest in the thing," Jeff Keay, CBC's media relations head, told the Toronto Star. "We want to make sure it's a solid piece of work that will stand up to intense scrutiny." Huh? Does that mean CBC is prepared to broadcast unsubstantiated programming when no one is watching?
The network denied it was preparing to censor the documentary, but rather was simply doing its "due diligence." Meaning it didn't do due diligence in March when it took delivery of the finished documentary from producer Peter Rowe and both its executives and lawyers signed off on its contents? It didn't do due diligence when it aired it once before at 4 a.m. or when it aired it last week in Quebec in French?
And since when does Mother Corp decide to review its documentaries for accuracy only after it has spent a week using its promotions machinery to flog the broadcast's date and time? Does the "public" broadcaster really expect us to believe it hadn't reviewed and fact-checked Beyond until the afternoon before it was supposed to be shown? That it suddenly developed concerns about the piece after the Chinese called, but those concerns had nothing to do with that call?
In a pointed response to a critical posting on a Falun Gong blog by Toronto broadcaster John Oakley, Mr. Keay insisted: "Rather than risk the credibility of an important piece of documentary filmmaking commissioned by the CBC, we chose to alter our calendar to allow further reporting. The documentary will be broadcast on Tuesday, Nov. 20. We make no apologies for changing our viewing schedule in the cause of producing the most truthful and credible work possible."
All right, then. If that is the CBC's new standard, Mr. Keay, can we expect that forthcoming smear jobs on Conservative politicians, global warming sceptics, gun owners, advocates of private health care and others with views that diverge from those of the average network exec will be similarly held up based on a single phone call until more accurate reporting can be done?
No? I thought not.
It's quite disturbing that CBC would yank a documentary on the Falun Gong after pressure from the Chinese embassy - but not surprising.
For CBC to be so acquiescent as to agree to re-edit the documentary to please China, especially after its final edit, speaks volumes. To show a rerun in its place on top of it all blows the CBC's cover.
It's bad enough that Beijing denies its persecution of the spiritual Falun Gong, but having the CBC go along and implement Beijing's censorship in our own free land is worse.
Will the new version reflect Beijing's justification for committing crimes against humanity and vilify the victims, as most totalitarian regimes do?
Somebody should remind the CBC that this is Canada.
CBC is not credible or reliable
Published: 15 hours ago, Nov. 10, 2007
Re: "CBC delays Falun Gong film after Chinese protest" (Gazette, Nov. 8).
Editing films and documentaries right up to the last minute does happen in
television. What is extremely rare - and quite odd - is cancelling a
scheduled broadcast hours or even minutes before its advertised time. This
induces consumer, audience and stakeholder dissatisfaction and loss of
In cancelling Beyond the Red Wall, a film about the mistreatment of the
Falun Gong movement in China, the CBC has let down all of the above. Its
withdrawal also constitutes false advertising
The CBC is neither credible nor reliable.
Charmaine Millott, Victoria
Not a pretty picture
The Edmonton Journal
Published: 10 Nov. 2007
China wanted CBC to edit out two pieces of information. The first is the exposure of propaganda created by CBC's buddy, Xinghua (the media mouthpiece for the Chinese regime) and second is the fact that organs from living Falun Gong practitioners are the primary source of China's lucrative organ trade.
The Chinese Communist Party and many western business partners do not want anything to interfere with the hosting of the 2008 Olympics. Maybe if this film was shown in full, people might start to wake up and actually think about the value of putting principles before profits.
Sophia Bronwen, Vancouver
Who's running CBC?
The Edmonton Journal Published: 5:06 am, Nov. 10, 2007
Let me get this straight: The CBC backed Peter Rowe in making a documentary called Beyond the Red Wall; my CBC -- the CBC my taxes pay for.
It showed the film to the people of Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Quebec and Ireland. But then, after a "polite" phone call from the Chinese embassy, my CBC decided I shouldn't see this film unless they -- ahem -- "edited it".
I am indignant. This is not China, but it soon will be if we allow the Chinese Communist Party to decide what we can see.
As a Canadian citizen, I request that my CBC make public the full content of the phone call from the Chinese embassy, and then immediately show us the original version of the film in prime time.
Kathy Gillis, Ottawa
The Edmonton Journal
Published: 5:06 am, Nov. 10, 2007
Editing films and documentaries at the last minute before presentation does happen. What is extremely rare is cancelling the broadcast hours before its advertised time, since this induces consumer/audience/stakeholder dissatisfaction and loss of company sponsorship.
In cancelling Beyond the Red Wall, the CBC has shown itself to be neither accountable nor reliable.
Charmaine Millott, Victoria
When Beijing calls, the CBC jumps
The Edmonton Journal Published: 5:06 am, Nov. 10, 2007
Re: "CBC delays airing Falun Gong film: Chinese embassy raised concerns about documentary," The Journal, Nov. 8.
I find it disturbing, but not surprising, that CBC would yank a documentary on Falun Gong after pressure from the Chinese embassy.
For CBC to be so vulnerable as to re-edit the documentary to please China -- especially after it was a done deal, according to the producer -- speaks volumes. One wonders if we are in Canada or in China.
It's bad enough that Beijing denies its persecution of spiritual Falun Gong, without having CBC agree to censor the film in our own free land.
If the CBC has its way, chances are the new version of the film will reflect Beijing's justification for committing crimes against humanity and will vilify the victims, as most totalitarian regimes do.
Marie Beaulieu, Victoria
Friday, November 09, 2007
Banning the Bible during the Olympics just business as usual
Athletes and visitors can bring into China only one Bible for “personal use.” Having more than that will be considered propaganda, something punishable under China’s laws. Falun Gong literature and meeting underground religious communities will also be strictly forbidden. Thus the whole world will now learn what ‘Made in China’ religious repression actually means.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry defended his country’s religious policy, saying that athletes and visitors can bring Bibles and other religious objects into the country, specifying however that they can only bring them in “for personal use.” The clarification comes after a report appeared in some US and Italian media outlets claiming that Bibles would be banned from the Olympic Games, a “total rumour” according to Foreign Ministry Liu Jianchiao who spoke yesterday to reporters.
Under Chinese Law “foreigners are allowed to bring in religious objects or materials, be it print or audio or video,” he said. Rules applying to religious practice will thus not change. Rights associated with “religious freedom in China, [. . .] also apply to foreigners who live in the country, [and] are protected by the Chinese Constitution and relevant laws.”
For his part, Li Zhanjun, director of the Beijing Olympics media centre, slammed the reports, saying they were an “intentional distortion of the truth.”
Yet some official statements made in the last few weeks suggest that for Chinese authorities bringing in any religious material for “propaganda” purposes was as dangerous as importing “weapons and explosives” and are consequently banned.
Many athletes and human rights organisations have asked however what constitutes propaganda. Even making the sign of the cross before a game or a Muslim prayer recited at the edges of a field could be deemed religious propaganda.
According to the Beijing 2008 Website, visitors cannot bring in dangerous materials like blood, infected animals or anything that might be detrimental to China’s policies. In a separate Note, the Website specifically says that “Each travel [sic] is recommended to take no more than one Bible into China.”
Therefore, we can see that there is no special kind of censorship; just business as usual, the same rules every visitor to the People’s Republic of China must submit to 365 days a year.
This means that the authorities will continue to ban all written material from the Falun Gong (a “wicked cult” according to the Chinese government) as well as the distribution of Bibles and other religious texts. Any activity in support of Tibet and the Dalai Lama or meeting with underground religious communities will also be prohibited.
Beijing is especially concerned about statements made by Tibetan Buddhist expatriates that they will try to take advantage of the Olympic Games to denounce China’s attacks against the Dalai Lama and violence against the Tibetan people.
It is equally afraid of the thousands of American evangelical Christians (some of whom are learning Chinese) who are preparing to use the Olympics to import thousands of Bibles and engage in evangelising activities in the country.
So anyone who thought that the Olympic Games would have been a time for China to “taste liberty” must think again for all they will taste will be religious repression.
OTTAWA, Nov. 9 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is disappointed that CBC News chose not to air a documentary Nov. 6, in the wake of last-minute complaints from Chinese officials.
"The CAJ is concerned the CBC has sent a message of self-censorship by pulling a previously aired and carefully vetted documentary just as it was about to be broadcast," said CAJ president Mary Agnes Welch.
The CBC had already aired Beyond the Red Wall this spring and Radio-Canada aired a French-dubbed version last month, nearly a year after getting a green light from CBC lawyers and senior editors.
The report documents the experience of a Canadian member of the spiritual movement Falun Gong, which is outlawed in China.
CBC spokesman Jeff Keay confirmed that after receiving calls from China's embassy in Ottawa and its consulate in Toronto, the independent public broadcaster decided to pull the documentary from its lineup. He explained the CBC is to review the content "to make sure it's a good, solid project."
Keay noted that the Chinese government is concerned about articles in the Chinese-language press, which claim the CBC supports Falun Gong. He added that political upheaval in Pakistan also led the CBC to withdraw the broadcast by Toronto documentarian Peter Rowe and re-air a report on Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf.
The CAJ regards editorial independence as a cornerstone of good journalism and notes its importance in a statement of principles. The document urges journalists to resist the influence of private and public interests such
as governments. The CAJ is developing a detailed position paper about editorial independence.
The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with some 1,500 members across Canada. The CAJ's primary role is to provide public-interest advocacy and high quality professional development for its members.
For further information: Mary Agnes Welch, president, CAJ, (204)
943-6575; John Dickins, executive director, CAJ, (613) 868-5442, www.caj.ca;
Personne-ressource: Sue Montgomery, administratrice, ACJ, (514) 248-1928
National Post -Published: Friday, November 09, 2007
by David Ownby, professor, departement d'histoire, Universite de Montreal.
Re: CBC Pulls Film After Calls From Chinese Embassy, James Cowan, Nov. 8.
As a professor of Chinese history at the Universite de Montreal, for the past seven years my main research project has been the Falun Gong, the persecuted Chinese spiritual movement. As one of the few credible academic authorities working on the Falun Gong, I have presented my research many times over the years. On two occasions, after speaking at Princeton and at Amsterdam, I received a series of strange e-mails from people I didn't know, with strange attachments. All of the messages had been routed either through the Chinese embassy in Ottawa or Paris. I suspected someone was trying to crash my computer, and I contacted the Foreign Affairs' China desk in Ottawa, who sent a CSIS agent to see me. He told me that his office spent considerable time slapping the Chinese embassy on the wrists, reminding them of the limitations of their freedom of activity on Canadian soil. My "poisoned e-mails" were added to the list.
The saga of Peter Rowe's documentary on the Falun Gong Beyond the Red Wall -- for which I was interviewed -- suggests that the Chinese have yet to learn their lesson. After Mr. Rowe received a call from the CBC telling him that they were pulling the documentary and demanding certain edits, I wrote to the CBC. Senior producer Andrew Johnson told me that it was the crisis in Pakistan which led CBC to pull the film, but that: "In the meantime, we are reviewing the current cut of the documentary, not at the behest of the Chinese government as some seem to be suggesting, but to ensure we are able to present a high-quality documentary with the high standards of quality and accuracy that our audiences expect."
This makes no sense. But what is not hard to imagine is a scenario where the Chinese might suggest to the CBC that their contracts for the Olympic Games might be up for rediscussion, unless they checked again to make sure that Beyond the Red Wall was "balanced."
Who calls the shots at the CBC?
Published: Friday, November 09, 2007 by Dr. Gerry Koffman, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, Toronto.
According to CBC spokesman Jeff Keay, the network postponed the airing of Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of the Falun Gong after the Chinese embassy "expressed their concern that the documentary be accurate." How odd. According to the producer, Peter Rowe, CBC authorities had signed off on the film in March, 2007.
The abrupt cancellation of this documentary is outrageous. Does the CBC no longer believe that its executives can vet a documentary? Does the CBC require unseen outside approval? On the eve of Remembrance Day when we celebrate the virtues of freedom and the men who died for it, the CBC should not acquiesce to pressure from a foreign and totalitarian regime.
Who calls the shots at the CBC?
Published: Friday, November 09, 2007
The CBC is working cheek and jowl with the Chinese regime to promote the 2008 Olympics, while their colleagues, courageous Chinese journalists who dare to print the truth and refuse to be "re-educated" are suffering in gulags, labouring without pay to make our Christmas tree lights. Can it get any more gruesomely ironic?
Sophia Bronwen, Vancouver.
Who calls the shots at the CBC?
Published: Friday, November 09, 2007
It's bad enough to have Beijing deny their persecution of the Falun Gong without having the CBC go along with them. Our national broadcaster better have some guts and take a stand for human rights sooner rather than later, and broadcast the true picture, not the glossy one.
Marie Beaulieu, Victoria.
CBC, Beyond the Red Wall and Falun Gong
By Clive Ansley, guest contributor
MWC: On Tuesday, November 6, CBC television was scheduled to show a documentary entitled “Beyond the Red Wall”. This film focuses on the vicious persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, highlighting the illegal nature of the persecution, the use of torture, and the horrific fact that Falun Gong practitioners are today being slaughtered on demand to facilitate theft of their organs and resale of those organs to foreign “organ tourists”.
David Kilgour, co-author of the comprehensive report which sets out the evidence of this “new form of evil on the planet”, is interviewed on the film. Also featured are Zhang Kunlun, a McGill University professor and Canadian Citizen who, on a visit to China, was thrown into a Labour Camp and tortured for three years, solely because of his Falun Gong beliefs.
Former Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler, is also described as “speaking passionately” about the persecution of Falun Gong. I am also interviewed in this film on the subject of the Chinese “judicial system”, or lack thereof, my call for a boycott of the 2008 Olympics, and the collaboration of the Chretien and Martin governments with the perpetrators of the worst atrocities the world has seen since the days of the Third Reich in Germany.
CBC had purchased this documentary from its producer, Peter Rowe, last March. Subsequently, it required Rowe to edit the film, primarily to delete certain charges against the Chinese government and to allow more extensive comment on Falun Gong by Chinese diplomatic officials.
Rowe complied and CBC management gave final approval to the edited version last spring. For weeks, CBC had been promoting the film. Hours before it was to air, CBC pulled the film and replaced it with a re-run whitewash of Pakistan’s dictator.
All contract issues between him and CBC had been finalized long ago. If there is a contractual issue, it consists solely of the fact that CBC has the Canadian contract for televising of the “Bloody Harvest Olympics” in Beijing next year.
There is little doubt that Beijing threatened our national broadcaster with loss of this contract in the event that CBC were to allow Canadian audiences to view “Beyond the Red Wall”.
A second version was that the crisis in Pakistan pre-empted Peter Rowe’s film and that Pakistan was of immediate topical interest. That lie is particularly transparent. The crisis in Pakistan was almost a week old. Urgent up to the minute coverage could have been injected at any time.
The film shown hardly touched the current crisis; it was an old film, essentially covering a dinner party conversation in which the dictator’s mother enthused about how he had always exhibited “leadership qualities”, even as a child, and the dictator himself was allowed to praise his own benevolence without challenge.
The truth is that Chinese diplomatic officials had contacted CBC, and had employed at least one long known Chinese Communist Party Agent to orchestrate a campaign against showing the film, which they denounced as “all lies”. How they could know this is unclear since no one has yet seen the film.
CBC itself has acknowledged the intervention by Beijing, but has said only that it decided to ask for further editing after “it had become clear over the last 24-36 hours” that there was a great interest in this film.
It is common knowledge that China’s media is totally controlled by the Chinese state and the Chinese Communist Party. For the past 8 years the Communist Party has used its media monopoly to vilify Falun Gong; Falun Gong practitioners, in contrast, have been totally stifled and have never had any means of replying to the spurious charges of the Beijing dictatorship.
The Chinese media has regularly charged that the teachings of Li Hongzhi, founder and leader of Falun Gong, have led to widespread crimes by Falun Gong adherents in China, including murder, mass murder, suicides, infanticides, and rape.
But strangely, the teachings of Li Hongzhi would appear to have these toxic effects exclusively on disciples resident in China. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and other countries of Asia. But for some strange reason, the only Falun Gong practitioners ever charged with “crimes” outside of China are three women practitioners convicted in Singapore of passing out literature without a permit.
Human rights advocates the world over lament the Beijing government’s consistent suppression of accurate news reports in China, and its determination to ensure that Chinese citizens never receive fair and accurate information about Falun Gong.
Now it is apparent that Beijing has the power to approve or disapprove what is broadcast by news services in democratic countries. CBC is apparently quite comfortable with the idea that what Canadians are allowed to see or hear should be determined by the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing.
Clive Ansley is the China Country Monitor for Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada and President of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG)